Short & Sweet
Christmas will no longer be on next year's school calendar for Maryland's Montgomery County Public School District after local Muslim leaders requested to also acknowledge their holidays. The School Board's response was a 7 to 1 vote to strike all references to religious celebrations from the schedule for the 2015-2016 school year.
Previously, the schools in Maryland's Montgomery County Public School District were closed on major Jewish and Christian holidays because there were so many student absences. The school board said it wasn't specially observing the holidays but more dealing with the absences. They said the absenteeism generated from Muslim holidays isn't enough to warrant a day off for the children, and they maintained that schools only give days off for operational or secular reasons and never for religious reasons.
Basically, the school board would rather take away all holidays from all children than give the Muslims their religious holidays off.
"We were blindsided. We are disappointed," said Zainab Chaundry, the spokeswoman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). "It isn't what we asked for. We don't believe that other faith groups should be punished for our request."
It sounds like the school board has a case of the Grinches. Instead of giving the Muslim students their holidays the same respect it gives Christian and Jewish holidays, it decided to punish everyone. Now, no one will get to observe religious holidays. It looks like parents will just have to keep their kids home on Christmas and Hanukkah, and the school will have to deal with the absenteeism.